N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids through the lifespan: implication for psychopathology

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Pusceddu, Matteo M.
Kelly, Philip
Stanton, Catherine
Cryan, John F.
Dinan, Timothy G.
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Oxford University Press
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Objective: The impact of lifetime dietary habits and their role in physical, mental, and social well-being has been the focus of considerable recent research. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids as a dietary constituent have been under the spotlight for decades. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids constitute key regulating factors of neurotransmission, neurogenesis, and neuroinflammation and are thereby fundamental for development, functioning, and aging of the CNS. Of note is the fact that these processes are altered in various psychiatric disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Design: Relevant literature was identified through a search of MEDLINE via PubMed using the following words, “n-3 PUFAs,” “EPA,” and “DHA” in combination with “stress,” “cognition,” “ADHD,” “anxiety,” “depression,” “bipolar disorder,” “schizophrenia,” and “Alzheimer.” The principal focus was on the role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids throughout the lifespan and their implication for psychopathologies. Recommendations for future investigation on the potential clinical value of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were examined. Results: The inconsistent and inconclusive results from randomized clinical trials limits the usage of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in clinical practice. However, a body of literature demonstrates an inverse correlation between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels and quality of life/ psychiatric diseases. Specifically, older healthy adults showing low habitual intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids benefit most from consuming them, showing improved age-related cognitive decline. Conclusions: Although further studies are required, there is an exciting and growing body of research suggesting that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may have a potential clinical value in the prevention and treatment of psychopathologies.
Placebo-controlled trial , Randomized controlled trial , Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , Ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid , Fish oil supplementation , Brain docosahexaenoic acid , Major depressive disorder , Mild cognitive impairment , Healthy young adults , Long-chain omega 3 fatty acids , n-3 PUFAs , Depression , Schizophrenia , Bipolar disorder , Alzheimer’s disease
Pusceddu, M. M., Kelly, P., Stanton, C., Cryan, J. F. and Dinan, T. G. (2016) ‘N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids through the lifespan: implication for psychopathology’, International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 19(12), pp. 1-23. doi:10.1093/ijnp/pyw078